Commentary

Disciples


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Wednesday, June 25, 1890

     5.20 P.M. W. asked me as soon as I came into his room— "Hasn't this been the hottest yet?"—as it had—though now, as he said, "there is a sweet breeze—I feel it on my head as I sit here"—gently stirring his long grey hair. Would take his daily trip in about an hour.

     I left Harper's Weekly with him—he returned me the American I had left him containing Morris' poem "Oracle," the first from Morris I know without formal measure, and in blank verse. M. thought it would more meet W.'s pleasure. I

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asked W. if he saw any reflex there of L. of G? But it was— "No—I cannot say I made any such observation"—but would not give any further view whatever on the poem. Questioned me, then ceased talking about it.

     Makes merry over Curtis' question in Harper's (in the "Easy Chair"): "There is no critic living who can foretell whether a hundred years hence our good friend Walt Whitman will be accepted as a great poet or have fallen into the limbo where the vast throng of Hebbell's poets lie." W. laughs and says— "that's a mighty ticklish question." When I dwelt upon the certainty of remembrance— "Do you say so? It is along way off—it is a venturesome prophecy"—yet not loth to consider it possible himself, I am sure.

     I received today this note from Talcott Williams, enclosing another from J. B. Gilder:
Ye Painte Shoppe,
1823 SPRUCE STREET
PHILADELPHIA.

My dear Mr Traubel

As you will see Walt Whitman before I can get over will you see what you can do about this

Yours truly

Talcott Williams



The Critic
52 & 54 Lafayette Place
New York
20 June 1890

Dear Mr. Williams:

Some time ago I sent to the surviving 31 of the "Forty Immortals" elected by The Critic's readers in 1884, a request to vote for nine successors to the members who had died. Nearly all have done so. Whitman is one of the few who have failed us a second time. I have written to him on the subject but with no effect. As I receive frequent communications from W. W., showing his disposition to

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be as friendly as I could wish, but never receive any acknowledgment of any note I send him, it occurs to me that there may be some defect in the organization of his household which prevents his receiving all the letters that are addressed to him by his friends. For this reason I should be greatly obliged to you, if, the next time you see or write to him (as I take it so near a neighbor has sure access to him), you would kindly inquire whether or no he received my letters on this subject. If he doesn't wish to vote, all right: if he does, I want him to do it. I can send him the names of some sixty men (native Americans, necessarily) who were voted for, besides the 40 who were elected, and he could underscore as many of them, up to nine, as he would like to see elected. Holmes, Whittier, Lowell, etc., and members living abroad have voted; but we shall print only the net result, without showing how any one person made up his list. Apologizing for troubling you, I remain


Very sincerely yrs,

Joseph B. Gilder


Have not yet referred these to Whitman.


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